PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL – The following story was published in the Panama City News Herald Newspaper at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday night, February 14, 2016.
Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruety representative Clant M. Seay said “There are important facts that all the members of the Panama City Council apparently did not have when the City Manager approved the Frank Brown Park to be used in 2016 to host this event which is based upon Big Lick Animal Cruelty. These facts were also not known by the members of the Tourism Board when it approved providing $25,000.00 of taxpayers money to bring this Big Lick horse show back to Panama City Beach. These facts will be provided to all of the members of the City Council, and members of the Tourism Development Council Board on Monday. The reputation of Panama City Beach, Florida is worth much more than $25,000.00. The eyes of the Nation are on this issue with Florida Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) sponsoring the PAST Act to abolish the Big Lick. Almost 60% of the U. S. House members have publicly endorsed the bill to eliminate the Big Lick pads and chains. This faux “Gulf Coast” show was run out of Tennessee in 2015. The last place that this cesspool of Big Lick Animal Cruelty needs to be welcomed is in Panama City Beach, Florida – home of the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches. It’s time for Panama City Beach to follow the leads of the University of Tennessee, University of Mississippi, Regions Bank, PepsiCo along with Germantown, Franklin and Murfreesboro, Tennessee which have cast out Big Lick Animal Cruelty.”
“Horse show to go on despite objections
By JOHN HENDERSON
News Herald Reporter
Posted Feb. 14, 2016 at 9:00 PM
“PANAMA CITY BEACH — More than 5,000 animal welfare advocates have signed an online petition calling for cancellation of a long-time horse show being held at Frank Brown Park in April, but organizers say the show will go on nonetheless.
The change.org petition alleges the “big lick” practice used on the Tennessee walking horses in the show amounts to animal cruelty.
The leader of the group calling for cancellation of the Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show & Music Festival made his case before the Beach Council on Thursday night.
This year’s show, scheduled for April 21-23, would be the 18th annual event. Last year, the show was held in Tennessee, where animal welfare advocates protested.
Clant Seay, an Oxford, Miss., resident who heads up Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty, told Beach Council members on Thursday night the “big lick” practice used to make the horses lift their feet in the air is animal cruelty.
The horses “have big pads on the front feet, he squats down behind, it causes him pain and he throws his front feet,” Seay told the Beach Council. “How do I know this? I’ve raised walking horses.”
In a recent email to city officials, he stated the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors disqualified 35 percent of the big lick horses it inspected at the 2015 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration for alleged animal cruelty violations.
Legislation has been introduced in Congress to ban the big lick process, and the Humane Society of the United States describes it as animal cruelty.
But Dee Cantrell, who heads up the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainers Association, told Beach Council members the horses are well treated.
“We are proud of our association with the Gulf Coast charity celebration,” she said. “The walking horse shows across the country are designed to showcase our beautiful, talented animals that we love. But also these shows benefit many charities that help others.”
She said to date, the shows have raised more than $800,000 for charitable organizations.
Cantrell said the horses must be inspected by licensed and trained personnel that are certified by the USDA. She said USDA officials have attended all of the previous 17 horse shows.
“This could be two layers of inspection for our horses,” she said. “In addition, the winner of every class has to go back through another inspection to make sure they are compliant with the Horse Protection Act.”
She added the welfare of the horses is of paramount importance.
“And each horse will be treated with utmost respect and dignity and will be cared for like the prized possessions that they truly are,” Cantrell said.
The council took no action on the request to cancel this year’s show and ban all others from being held on the Beach.
Mayor Gayle Oberst said Friday it is too late to cancel the show this year.
“I don’t think it’s anything the City Council can try to do before April,” Oberst said Friday. “We signed the contracts for them to lease the land over there, but it certainly could be something if next year the council wants to look at it we could put some kind of condition we’d not lease or rent property if certain events or things happened.”
The Tourist Development Council recently kicked in $25,000 to bring the show back to the Beach after hearing an organizer talk of its economic benefit to the city. Sister Blackmon-Milligan, the founder of the Gulf Coast Charity Association that is involved in putting on the event, made the pitch. She said Friday a TDC study shows the event generates an estimated $4.9 million in direct and indirect economic benefits, with 5,000 to 15,000 people coming to the Beach for the event.
“There are more people that show up than just the people we see in the ring and spectators,” she said. “We have logistical people who come in from Mississippi to set up the stalls. They are paying local people to help them put up the stalls. We’ve got people coming from Atlanta to put up tents.”